THE recent controversy surrounding the uproar by parents and teachers of the Ave Maria Primary School in Castries is set to become a proving ground, both for how we handle disruption, and for those making mischief with bomb threats. The focus of the controversy is a school housing one thousand students, impacted by the series of bomb threats levelled against another building beyond their own perimeter, a courthouse on Coral Street. The nature of such threats demands a formal response, for the sake of safety, responsibility and good conscience.
Despite the escalation of this issue into the political arena, and apparent intransigence in reviewing the decision to locate the court, a dreadful problem remains: those who make bomb threats are apparently equal opportunity offenders who may target any institution, including court houses and schools! No building or institution is truly safe.
In response to media queries on the matter this week, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to “address our ability to capture” these individuals committing these crimes, with increased CCTV deployments and surveillance touted as a solution. The move to a state of increased surveillance may deter criminals, but is that level of intrusiveness a fair balance? Should we trade privacy for security? Perhaps the teachers, parents, business owners and shoppers around courthouses would agree. Bear in mind that the average person in Britain is likely to be caught on camera some 300 times each day, with that country’s extensive network of CCTV cameras providing a blanket of coverage.
Although we may not reach that level of coverage anytime soon, the future state of our security requires our forward planning. In that light, the location of critical infrastructure, and the impact zone surrounding that infrastructure, may feature more highly in planning decisions.
Dr Lyndell St Ville is an ICT Consultant with a background in environmental and resource science. His expertise includes systems analysis, planning, and capacity building. To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.